Travel

It is hard to for­get an amaz­ing place like this.

Golf Digest (Malaysia) - - Contents - BY DAVID BOW­DEN

Never miss a game at the Siam Coun­try Club and the other won­ders of Pat­taya, Thai­land.

Few golfers need much per­sua­sion to play a round of golf in Thai­land and with the beach­side re­sort des­ti­na­tion of Pat­taya be­ing less than 90-minute’s drive from Bangkok’s Su­var­nah­humi Air­port, a week­end’s golf looks even more ap­peal­ing.

Stay an ex­tra day and play all three 18-hole cham­pi­onship cour­ses (plus an ad­di­tional nine holes at the Plan­ta­tion) at the ex­pan­sive Siam Golf Club Pat­taya lo­cated just a short dis­tance in­land from the Gulf of Thai­land. The Old Course here is the one ev­ery­one wants to play but nei­ther the Plan­ta­tion nor the Wa­ter­side Cour­ses are to ne­glected.

For golfers who have time on their hands, the east­ern seaboard of Thai­land is re­ally blos­som­ing as a golf des­ti­na­tion as it has 28 cour­ses avail­able to play.

The Old Course of 7,162 yards off the black tees is the PGA course which first opened in 1971 but re­opened in 2007 af­ter a Sch­midt-Cur­ley ren­o­va­tion. Its sig­na­ture hole is the 422-yard ninth which is a gen­tly ris­ing hole lead­ing up to a hill with a Bud­dha struc­ture on top. Nat­u­rally, this is the hard­est of the cour­ses to get a tee-off time so make ad­vanced books to en­sure a slot.

Opened in 2008, the Plan­ta­tion Course fea­tures 27 holes (par 108) and is more hilly and chal­leng­ing than the Old Course. There is no wa­ter on the course but it’s the con­toured fair­ways that make its so chal­leng­ing.

Siam Coun­try Club’s new­est course is the Wa­ter­side which re­ceived its first golfers in May 2104. This is a great course for those new to the game with the red tees en­sur­ing ev­ery­one has a leisurely but en­joy­able game. How­ever, it’s not as easy as it looks as wind comes into play around those holes close to the lake and golfers tee­ing off from the blue tees will find their game to be very chal­leng­ing es­pe­cially the sig­na­ture, par five, hole eight of 618 yards.

Cad­dies and bug­gies are manda­tory for all golfers and the fa­cil­i­ties at each course are su­perb with locker rooms, food and bev­er­age out­lets (open 6am to 7pm), prac­tice greens and chip­ping ar­eas plus pro shop. An academy and driv­ing range are sit­u­ated at the Wa­ter­side.

If 63 holes were not enough, con­struc­tion of a fourth 18-hole course has just com­menced and is planned to be com­pleted by early 2020.

POST-GOLF AC­TIV­I­TIES

Be­ing a re­sort des­ti­na­tion, Pat­taya of­fers al­most ev­ery­thing from din­ing, is­land hop­ping, wa­ter­sports, shop­ping, bars, re­flex­ol­ogy, cul­tural shows and at­trac­tions. Some high­lights in­clude – Sil­ver­lake Win­ery, Ri­p­ley’s Be­lieve It or Not, KAAN (in­door Thai en­ter­tain­ment ex­trav­a­ganza) and The Sanc­tu­ary of Truth (a gi­gan­tic com­plex com­pris­ing thou­sands of carved wooden sculp­tures).

The spa in the nearby AVANI Pat­taya Re­sort and Spa of­fers a re­fresh­ingly dif­fer­ent spa ex­pe­ri­ence that feels pure, con­tem­po­rary and to­tally re­lax­ing. Treat­ments are based upon the guests’ de­sired out­come and are de­signed to boost, calm, bal­ance and pu­rify. The AVANI Sig­na­ture Touch mas­sage com­bines a sooth­ing oil mas­sage with stretch­ing tech­niques that fo­cuses on the shoul­ders, up­per arms and up­per body sides. The spa is open daily from 10am un­til 10pm.

A NIGHT ON THE TOWN

Pat­taya is an in­ter­na­tional des­ti­na­tion with an en­tic­ing ar­ray of lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional cuisines plus an ex­ten­sive of af­ford­able bev­er­ages. Golfers can now eat at the world’s first Miche­lin-starred street food stall, Hawker Chan (from Sin­ga­pore) on the ground floor of Royal Gar­den Plaza shop­ping com­plex.

Not sur­pris­ingly, there are many Thai restau­rants in this re­sort city. Sala Rim Nam in the spa­cious gar­dens of the AVANI Re­sort has a mag­i­cal set­ting be­neath tow­er­ing co­conut palms, frangi­pani trees and a sky­ful of stars. The restau­rant

is perched on a wooden plat­form above lo­tus-lined ponds. The cui­sine is as good as the am­biance with spe­cialty dishes of prawn tom yum, glass noo­dles with seafood and soft shell crab curry.

Nearby, the food at Beni­hana is with­out equal but what sets it apart from other Ja­panese restau­rants is the way the food is served. Tep­pa­nyaki coun­ters are the fo­cus for what is known as the Beni­hana ‘eater­tain­ment’ spec­ta­cle with all the best the­atrics of Ja­panese hot plate cook­ing. Beni­hana has just re­lo­cated from its long­stand­ing Royal Gar­den Plaza po­si­tion to a first floor lo­ca­tion at the beach­front en­trance to the AVANI Re­sort.

Ex­pe­ri­ence the liveli­est Ir­ish hos­pi­tal­ity at Dicey Reilly’s with its nightly live mu­sic and din­ing spe­cials in­clud­ing fish n’ chips, wood­fired piz­zas and hot dogs. Sun­day from noon to 4pm is a spe­cial time with a carvery of three dif­fer­ent roasts in­clud­ing roast beef and York­shire pud­ding. While many bev­er­ages from Ir­ish whisky to cock­tails and wines are served, Dicey Reilly’s is a pub and draught beer, stout and cider such as Guin­ness, Mag­n­ers, Chang and Tiger are served along with var­i­ous oth­ers by the bot­tle. Beer tow­ers for lo­cal beers are pop­u­lar es­pe­cially dur­ing happy hours from 8pm to 10pm when they are com­pet­i­tively priced. Free wi-fi and pool are of­fered along with live sports ac­tion on sev­eral tele­vi­sion mon­i­tors as well as a big screen for foot­ball, rugby, rugby league, F1 and Amer­i­can foot­ball.

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